This project involved dredging as needed within the existing 40-foot Delaware River federal navigation channel to deepen it to 45 feet from Philadelphia Harbor, Pa. and Beckett Street Terminal, Camden, N.J. along a 102.5-mile distance to deepwater in the Delaware Bay and rock removal in certain sections of the channel. A total of 10 contracts were awarded to perform the work.
The deeper channel allows for more efficient transportation of containerized, dry and liquid bulk, break bulk, roll-on/roll-off, and project cargoes to and from the Delaware River ports. Under a Project Partnership Agreement signed in 2008, the total cost is shared 35 percent by PhilaPort (formerly Philadelphia Regional Port Authority) as the non-federal sponsor, and 65 percent by the federal government through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Initial construction has involved removal of some 16 million cubic yards of material. About 12 million of that total was silt, clay, sand and gravel from the river portion of the project, being placed at existing federal upland confined disposal facilities (CDFs) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Delaware Bay accounted for the remaining 4 million cubic yards, almost half of which was good quality sand that was dredged and placed for initial construction of the Corps' coastal storm risk management project (dune and beach nourishment) at Broadkill Beach, Del. The remainder was placed at the southernmost CDF (Artificial Island).
Most of the dredging has been performed by hopper dredges and hydraulic pipeline dredges, with bucket dredges used where needed for larger diameter material, and in tandem with rock blasting operations in the Marcus Hook area.